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Behavioralism approach to Politics

Definitions of Behaviouralism
“It is a movement in political science which insists on analysing only observable behaviour of political
actors”.

In this definition there are two things which demand mention. It is a movement, and behaviouralism is
based on the observable behaviour of individuals who are regarded as political actors. Behaviouralism
starts an in-depth analysis by scrutinising the political behaviour of individuals.

There is another definition which is different from the standpoint of language but not conceptually.
Behaviouralism is a belief which insists that social theory can be and should be constructed only on the
basis of observable behaviours because only such behaviour provides measurable or quantifiable data
for research.

Both these definitions have a common plank and thus a social/political theory can be constructed with
the help of measurable data provided by the behaviour of individuals. The exponents of behaviouralism
have built up a conviction that neglecting the behaviour of individuals—who are the real actors of social
and political events— a plausible political social or political theory cannot be constructed.

Behaviouralism asserts that for an acceptable scientific theory of social science it is essential that the
political behaviour of individuals is to be studied and not the units and organisations which deal with
political questions and principles. It is because the political behaviour of actors constitutes the central
aspects of politics.

Behavioural approach to politics or behaviouralism (both the terms are used in the same sense) denotes
that it is an “attempt to improve our understanding of politics by seeking to explain the empirical
aspects of political life by means of methods, theories and criteria of proof that are acceptable according
to the canons, conventions and assumption of modern empirical science.”

David Truman, in his famous essay published in 1951, defined behaviouralism in the following words:
Defined generally the term political behaviour comprehends those actions and interactions of men and
groups which are involved in the process of governing.

In a more broader way the concept has been explained by David Truman another noted exponent of
behaviouralism. He says that it is not a special field of social science; it is not even a field of political

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science. It denotes all the phenomena of government in terms of observed and observable behaviour of
men.

Origin and Development:


Though it is generally held that behaviouralism or political behaviour or behaviouralism in politics is the
product of Second World War turmoil, its true origin can be traced further back to the First World War.
It has been asserted that after the First World War number of political scientists of the USA were
inclined to analyse political behaviour empirically and for that purpose they adopted advanced scientific
methods which ultimately led to a new concept called behaviouralism.

The first methodological approach received a better treatment in the hands of Frank Kent who was not a
political scientist but a journalist. He wrote a book with a long tittle— Political Behaviour, the Heretofore
the Unwritten Laws, Customs, and Principles of Politics as Practised in the United States.

Kent’s long association with the real world and his ability to study the mind and behaviour of people
enabled him to be well- acquainted with the reality. He arrived at the conclusion that the fabric of
political concepts was built upon wrong notions. A fruitful analysis of political science must take note of
political behaviour demonstrated by citizens.

Kent’s book was published in 1928. After nine years, that is in 1937, Herbert Tingsten wrote a book
which was entitled Political Behaviour, Studies in Election Statistics. Tingsten’s book is more direct and
deals with advanced analysis of political behaviour.

Tingsten wrote his book in the background of European elections but it had sufficient relevance to the
political behaviour of American voters and some political scientists of America treated his book as the
basis for the analysis of political behaviours. Tingsten provided a great impetus for detailed and
advanced analysis of behaviouralism in USA. The mental and psychological atmosphere was also quite
favourable.

Bernard Crick (The American Science of Politics: Its Origin and Conditions) says that due to the very
nature of American people behaviouralism flourished in that country and the nature of Americans
relates to their culture, fact-findingness, confidence in science and pragmatic nature.

Number of American political scientists devoted their energy and intellect to the cause of investigating
the subject in a new light. The traditional way of analysing the subject earned its importance and they
felt that it should be jettisoned. New sophisticated methods were liberally used to study the subject.
The main purpose was to update and upgrade the subject.

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Charles Merriam was another renowned exponent whose appearance considerably enriched the
analysis of political science. He predicted that in near future political science will receive better
treatment. All this he said towards the mid-twenties of last century: During the thirties Charles Merriam
provided a bold leadership for a comprehensive investigation of political science in the perspective of
empirical analysis.

But Charles Merriam was not alone. Large number of scholars who established themselves as top
political scientists were closely associated with the research of political science and some of them were
Harold Lasswell, V. O. Key, and Gabriel Almond.

They were under the direct influence of Charles Merriam. While Merriam was at the University of
Chicago Lasswell, Key and Almond were the students of the Chicago University and they could not avoid
the influence of Charles Merriam. We can therefore say that in the process of the growth of
behaviouralism Merriam had a very important role to play.

Behind the growth of behaviouralism in USA there lies remarkable contribution of a large number of
European scholars. In the nineteen thirties many German political scientists and sociologists migrated to
the USA due to the autocratic administration and inhuman torture of Hitler.

The scholars carried with them the intellectual wealth and renewed their research in the liberal
atmosphere of the American academic circles. All of them emphisised the relevance of sociological,
psychological, empirical and scientific methods for the study of political science. All of them strongly felt
that only large scale application of empirical methods to the study of politics can make it worthy.

The impact of S. W. W. was perhaps most important so far as the growth of behaviouralism was
concerned. This war had an unostentatious impact upon the analysis of political science. Social Science
Research Council was set up in USA and researchers both from Europe and America joined the research
centre. New approach was encouraged and the old tradition was thought to be irrelevant for new.

The old tradition was thought to be irrelevant for new and challenging situation. Researchers started to
analyse the political bebaviour of individuals and in order to arrive at acceptable and plausible
conclusions they applied new and mathematical techniques.

After the S. W. W. in USA a committee named Political Behaviour was set up whose sole purpose was to
study the political behaviour of voters and persons from various standpoints and to construct
conclusions. The researchers admitted that there were defects and inconsistencies in the behaviour of
voters but in spite of this their behaviour could provide important guidelines for the researchers.

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In the field of the development of behaviouralism the contribution of certain financial institutions must
be recognised because without financial assistance the research workers could not continue their work.
In many European countries researchers show keen interest in behaviouralism but could not proceed
satisfactorily due to the lack of funds. On the other hand, USA was far advanced. This was due to the
liberal contribution made by the philanthropic organisations and capitalists.

In the fifties and sixties David Easton, Gabriel Almond, Harold Lasswell and many others devised new
and improved schemes for the analysis of political science. These schemes were based on theoretical
innovations and empiricism. All these radically transformed the very fabric of political theory in
particular and political science in general. Their approach divided the subject into few sub-fields.

The general impact is that students of political science began to view it with a new outlook. The
attention was diverted from the traditional approach such as to view politics in the light of institutions
and organisations to in-depth analysis assisted by new methods. As a result of the rapid growth of
research and interest behaviouralism assumed new dimensions. Some people began to call themselves
as theoretical behaviouralists and others preferred the term positive behaviouralists.

In the nineteen seventies scholars of Europe took interests in the concept. They persuasively asserted
that social science ought to be analysed in the light of what is, rather than what ought to be. This
approach was based on the data and facts derived from the field study.

This tendency was prominent even in the sixties. But in the seventies scholars of Europe joined the army
of behavioural researchers. Today behaviouralism is not only an important theoretical concept of
political science; it constitutes a very important aspect. It is a fact that in the seventies, it was faced with
new challenges and situations which the researchers could not imagine. Today many serious scholars
argue that the data and facts collected from the political behaviour of voters cannot be highly relied
upon.

There is validity in the argument no doubt but political science cannot be fruitfully analysed without
facts and data. There may be imperfection or inconsistency in any data or facts, but such a lacuna can be
found in any event or behaviour. It is the duty of behaviouralists to select appropriate or relevant data
and then start an analysis.

The researchers were guided by an indomitable zeal to free political science from the bondage of
traditional analysis. At present counter—arguments against behaviouralism are being advanced but no
serious behaviouralist can contemplate rejecting the concept.

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Notwithstanding the imperfection it is believed that behaviouralism highlights a new tendency to study
political science in the proper perspective. Added to it, David Easton himself has made bold attempt to
add new arguments and revisions to the body of behaviouralism. We shall now turn to the analysis of
the main features of behaviouralism.

Credo of Behaviouralism:
Easton in his famous work A Framework for Political Analysis (1965) has said that the assumptions and
objectives of behaviouralism lay the intellectual foundation- stones for political analysis. This claim is not
without reason. Behaviouralism as a protest movement revolutionised the thought system of political
science in the nineteen forties and fifties. These intellectual foundation-stones are called credo. He has
discussed this credo in his above-noted book in detail. The credo can also be described as assumptions
of behaviouralism.

According to David Easton, there are seven assumptions:


1. Regularities:
It means that observable uniformities have been found in behaviour of individuals. Though individuals
behave differently under different circumstances, uniformities can be discovered in their political
behaviour. People uniformly react to circumstances. The consequence is certain general conclusions can
be framed on the basis of uniform observable behaviour.

2. Verification:
Second assumption or credo is that generalisations can be verified in reference to the behaviour.
Political behaviouralists collect data and facts about individuals’ political behaviour and then test the
conclusion drawn by them or other Behaviouralists.

3. Techniques:
The behaviouralists collect and interpret data not in a haphazard way or indiscriminately but in a
methodological and scientific way that is by adopting improved techniques borrowing from other
sciences. In other words, the behaviouralists do not take any data or fact as granted. They adopt
cautious steps so that any mistake or misconceptions cannot crop up.

4. Quantification:
Data and facts are processed in a scientific way. But in the entire process everything is measured and
quantified.

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5. Values:
In analysing political behaviour and collecting data behaviouralists cautiously proceed. They observe
that empirical judgment and value judgment are not mixed together. In earlier days, political behaviour
was associated with normative judgment—that is, everything was judged in the perspective of values
and norms.

But Easton observes that these two approaches are quite distinct and the distinction must be
maintained. Otherwise, political analysis of individuals’ behaviour will not be able to face the proper
test.

6. Systematisation:
The researcher of political behaviour must proceed in his analysis quite systematically which means that
the purpose of research is to arrive at truth or to build up general principles. All these will, in turn,
supply materials for building up a structure of theory. If behaviouralists fail to act systematically they will
not succeed. Of course, systematisation is not the sole property of behaviouralists, it is found in every
science — physical or social. Researchers must see that their work must be theory-oriented and theory-
directed.

From the beginning to the end the behaviouralists shall proceed orderly or systematically. The failure of
the researcher to be systematic will put him in problems such as success will be in troubles. Collection of
data and facts, research, analysis, building up conclusions and everything else are closely related. This is
systematisation.

7. Pure Science:
The behaviouralists claim that their approach as well as conclusions is based on the principles of pure
science. Even their research conforms to the basic principles of pure science.

In every step they adopt the methods and techniques of pure science. Naturally, they attach great
importance to research and to the conclusions built up by them. The behaviouralists claim that their
dependence on pure science has enhanced the acceptability and prestige of their conclusions.

There is another assumption of behaviouralism and, according to many, it is integration. It can be


interpreted in various ways. One such way is that the method applied by behaviouralists has
automatically integrated political science with other branches of social science. The behaviouralists want
to say that political science cannot be separated from economics, sociology, anthropology etc.

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This is due to the fact that man is a social being and his behaviour is considerably influenced by the
events and incidents which occur in other segments of society. Naturally, political science cannot be
separated from other social sciences.

Even there is a relationship between political science and physical science. What we call political
behaviour is not a solitary incident. On experience it has been found that the political behaviour of
voters/individuals is the result of social, economic, and cultural incidents and circumstances. Nobody
can come out of the social milieu and build up his own decision and conclusion.

He must react to the incidents and phenomena that take place around him. Behaviouralists claim that if
we want to study the political phenomena or the political behaviour of individuals we must have clear
and broad knowledge about all the aspects of society. Here is the real importance of integration.

This analysis should not lead one to conclude that political behaviouralism, as a result of its intimate
relation with other disciplines, will lose it identity. No behaviouralists says this. The approach and
objective of behaviouralism in politics are quite distinct from those of other disciplines. The moot point
is that behaviouralism borrows techniques from others and admits its relation with them.

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Behaviourlism

Behavioralism, which was one of the dominant approaches in the 1950s and ’60s, is the view
that the subject matter of political science should be limited to phenomena that are
independently observable and quantifiable. It assumes that political institutions largely reflect
underlying social forces and that the study of politics should begin with society, culture,
and public opinion. To this end, behavioralists utilize the methodology of the social sciences—
primarily psychology—to establish statistical relationships between independent variables
(presumed causes) and dependent variables (presumed effects). For example, a behavioralist
might use detailed election data to argue that voters in rural areas tend to vote for candidates
who are more conservative, while voters in cities generally favour candidates who are more
liberal. The prominence of behavioralists in the post-World War II period helped to lead
political science in a much more scientific direction. For many behavioralists, only such
quantified studies can be considered political science in the strict sense; they often contrasted
their studies with those of the so-called traditionalists, who attempted to explain politics by
using unquantified descriptions, anecdotes, historical analogies, ideologies, and philosophy.
Like behaviourism in psychology, behavioralism in political science attempted to
discard intuition, or at least to support it with empirical observation. A traditionalist, in
contrast, might attempt to support intuition with reason alone.

Perhaps the most important behavioral contributions to political science were election studies.
In 1955 American political scientist V.O. Key, Jr. (1908–63), identified as “critical,” or
“realigning,” several elections in which American voters shifted their long-term party affiliation
massively from one political party to another, giving rise to the dominance of the Republican
Party from 1860 to 1932 and of the Democratic Party after 1932. Pioneering statistical electoral
analyses were conducted by the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center (SRC), which
was developed in the 1940s. In The American Voter (1960), Angus Campbell, Philip
Converse, William Miller, and Donald Stokes used the results of studies by the SRC to develop
the concept of party identification—the long-term psychological attachment of a voter to
a political party. The long-recognized influences of religion, social class, region, and ethnicity,
they argued, contribute to voting behaviour only insofar as the voter has been socialized,
primarily by his parents, to adopt a particular party identification.

Behavioral approaches were soon adopted outside the United States, often by scholars with
connections to American universities. The University of Oxford initiated election studies in the
1960s, and David Butler and Donald Stokes—one of the authors of The American Voter—
adapted much of the American study in Political Change in Britain: Forces Shaping Electoral
Choice (1969). They found that political generation (the era in which one was born) and
“duration of partisanship” also predict party identification—that is, the length of time one has
been a partisan heavily predicts one’s vote. They also found that party identification, initially
transmitted by one’s parents, may change under the impact of historic events. The influential
Norwegian scholar Stein Rokkan pioneered the use of cross-national quantitative data to
examine the interaction of party systems and social divisions based on class, religion, and
region, which in combination explain much voting behaviour. Rokkan identified the importance
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of “centre-periphery” tensions, finding that outlying regions of a country tend to vote
differently from the area where political and economic activities are centred. The
extensive Eurobarometer series—public-opinion surveys carried out in European
Union countries since 1973 on behalf of the European Commission—have given European
behavioralists a solid statistical base on a range of political, social, economic, and cultural
issues; the surveys have provided valuable data for examining trends over time, and they have
shown, among other things, that modern European ideological opinion clusters around the
political centre, suggesting that stable democratic systems have taken root. More
recently, Transparency International, founded in 1993 in Berlin, has conducted worldwide
surveys that attempt to quantify corruption. In Latin America, Guillermo O’Donnelland Arturo
Valenzuela used public-opinion surveys and voting, economic, and demographic data to
examine the forces that have destabilized democracy there.

The behavioral approach was also central to the work of the American sociologist and political
scientist Seymour Martin Lipset, whose influential Political Man: The Social Bases of
Politics (1960) used statistical and historical data to demonstrate that social class is one of the
chief determinants of political behaviour. Lipset infuriated Marxists by portraying elections as
“the democratic class struggle” in which the working class finds its true voice in moderate leftist
parties. Lipset also contributed to modernization theory by identifying factors that explain why
countries adopt either authoritarian or democratic political systems. Specifically, Lipset found a
strong relationship between level of affluence and type of political system, demonstrating that
less-affluent countries seldom establish democratic structures.

Behavioralism also influenced international relations, though it did not achieve the same
dominance in this area that it enjoyed in domestic and comparative politics. The Correlates of
War Project, founded at the University of Michigan in 1963, gathered much quantitative data
and became one of the leading sources for scholars studying the causes and effects of war and
international tension. Behavioralism also established itself in studies of judicial
and bureaucratic systems.

By the 1960s behavioralism was in full bloom, forcing the traditionalists into retreat in much of
the discipline. By the late 1960s, however, criticism of behavioralism had begun to grow. One
charge leveled against it was that the statistical correlations uncovered by behavioral studies
did not always establish which variable, if any, was the cause and which the effect. The fact that
two variables change together does not in itself show which causes which; indeed, the changes
exhibited by both variables may be the effects of an underlying third variable. In order to make
sense of the actual relationship between the variables, the researcher must often use
intuition—a tool that behavioralists expressly sought to avoid. A study of white blue-collar
Roman Catholics in Detroit, Michigan, for example, might find that during a certain period they
were more likely to vote Republican as they became more affluent and suburbanized. However,
whether the change in their voting patterns was due to their race, their religion, their increased
affluence, or their suburban lifestyle—or whether they simply responded to the message or
personality of particular Republican Party candidates—may be unclear.

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In addition, though behavioral research yielded important insights into the political behaviour
of individuals, it often explained little about actual governance. Voting studies, for example,
rarely provided an understanding of public policy. Because behavioral research tended to be
limited to topics that were amenable to quantitative study, it was often dismissed as narrow
and irrelevant to major political issues. Indeed, intense methodological debates among
behavioralists (and within the discipline more broadly) often seemed arcane, filled
with esoteric jargon and addressed to issues of little concern to most citizens. Because
behavioralists needed quantitative survey and electoral data, which were often unavailable in
dictatorships or less-affluent countries, their approach was useless in many parts of the world.
In addition, the reliability of behavioral research was called into question by its dependence in
large part on verbal responses to questionnaires. Analyses of survey results have shown that
respondents often give socially desirable answers and are likely to conceal their true feelings on
controversial topics; moreover, the wording of questions, as well as the ordering of possible
answers, can affect the results, making concrete conclusions difficult. Finally, many behavioral
findings revealed nothing new but simply restated well-established or obvious conclusions,
such as the observation that wealthy people tend to vote conservative and poor and working-
class people tend to vote liberal or left-of-centre. For all of these reasons, behavioralism did not
become the sole methodology in political science, and many behavioralists eventually
acknowledged the need for the unquantified insights of traditionalists; by the late 1960s
political scientists called this the “postbehavioral synthesis.”

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Salient Features of Behaviouralism:

David Easton has pointed out certain salient features of behaviouralism which are regarded as
its intellectual foundations. These are:

Regularities: This approach believes that there are certain uniformities in political behaviour
which can be expressed in generalizations or theories in order to explain and predict political
phenomena. In a particular situation the

political behaviour of individuals may be more or less similar. Such regularities of behaviour
may help the researcher to analyze a political situation as well as to predict the future political
phenomena. Study of such regularities makes Political Science more scientific with some
predictive value.

Verification: The behaviouralists do not want to accept everything as granted. Therefore, they
emphasize testing and verifying everything. According to them, what cannot be verified is not
scientific.

Techniques: The behaviouralists put emphasis on the use of those research tools and methods
which generate valid, reliable and comparative data. A researcher must make use of
sophisticated tools like sample surveys, mathematical models, simulation etc.

Quantification: After collecting data, the researcher should measure and quantify those data.

Values: The behaviouralists have put heavy emphasis on separation of facts from values. They
believe that to do objective research one has to be value free. It means that the researcher
should not have any pre-conceived notion or a biased view.

Systematization: According to the behaviouralists research in Political Science must be


systematic. Theory and research should go together.

Pure Science: Another characteristic of behaviouralism has been its aim to make Political
Science a “pure science”. It believes that the study of Political Science should be verified by
evidence.

Integration: According to the behaviouralists, Political Science should not be separated from
various other social sciences like history, sociology and economics etc. This approach believes
that political events are shaped by various other factors in the society and therefore, it would
be wrong to separate Political Science from other disciplines.

Thus, with the emergence of behaviouralism a new thinking and new method of study were
evolved in the field of Political Science. Therefore, we can list the merits of behavioural
approach as follows:

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It attempts to make Political Science scientific and brings it closer to the day to day life of the
individuals.

Behaviouralism has first talked about bringing human behaviour into the arena of Political
Science and thereby makes the study more relevant to the society.
· This approach helps in predicting future political events.

The behavioural approach has been appreciated by different political thinkers for its merits as
mentioned above. However, the Behavioural approach has been faced with various criticisms
for its ‘mad craze’ for scienticism also. The main criticisms levelled against this approach are
mentioned below:

 This has been criticized for its dependence on techniques and methods ignoring the
subject matter.

 The advocates of this approach were wrong when they said that human beings behave
in similar ways in similar circumstances.
 Besides, it is a difficult task to study human behaviour and to get a definite result.
 Most of the political phenomena are unquantifiable. Therefore it is always difficult to
use scientific method in the study of Political Science.
 Moreover, the researcher being a human being is not always value neutral as believed
by the behaviouralists.

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Behavioural approach:
Among the modern empirical approach, the behavioural approach, to study political science
grabbed notable place. Most eminent exponents of this approach are David Etson, Robert, A.
Dahl, E. M. Kirkpatrick, and Heinz Eulau. Behavioural approach is political theory which is the
result of increasing attention given to behaviour of ordinary man. Theorist, Kirkpatrick stated
that traditional approaches accepted institution as the basic unit of research but behavioural
approach consider the behaviour of individual in political situation as the basis (K. Sarmah,
2007).

Salient Features of Behaviourism:


David Easton has pointed out certain salient features of behaviouralism which are regarded as
its intellectual foundations. These are:
Regularities: This approach believes that there are certain uniformities in political behaviour
which can be expressed in generalizations or theories in order to explain and predict political
phenomena. In a particular situation the Political behaviour of individuals may be more or less
similar. Such regularities of behaviour may help the researcher to analyse a political situation as
well as to predict the future political phenomena. Study of such regularities makes Political
Science more scientific with some predictive value.
Verification: The behaviouralists do not want to accept everything as granted. Therefore, they
emphasize testing and verifying everything. According to them, what cannot be verified is not
scientific.
Techniques: The behaviouralists put emphasis on the use of those research tools and methods
which generate valid, reliable and comparative data. A researcher must make use of
sophisticated tools like sample surveys, mathematical models, simulation etc.
Quantification: After collecting data, the researcher should measure and quantify those data.
Values: The behaviouralists have put heavy emphasis on separation of facts from values. They
believe that to do objective research one has to be value free. It means that the researcher
should not have any pre-conceived notion or a biased view.
Systematization: According to the behaviouralists, research in Political Science must be
systematic. Theory and research should go together.
Pure Science: Another characteristic of behaviouralism has been its aim to make Political
Science a “pure science”. It believes that the study of Political Science should be verified by
evidence.
Integration: According to the behaviouralists, Political Science should not be separated from
various other social sciences like history, sociology and economics etc. This approach believes
that political events are shaped by various other factors in the society and therefore, it would
be wrong to separate Political Science from other disciplines.
It is recognized by theorists that with the development of behaviouralism, a new thinking and
new technique of study were evolved in the field of Political Science.

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Benefits of behavioural approach are as follows:

1. This approach makes Political Science more scientific and brings it closer to the day to
day life of the individuals.
2. Behaviouralism has first explained human behaviour into the field of Political Science
and thus makes the study more relevant to the society.
3. This approach helps in predicting future political events.
4. The behavioural approach has been supported by different political thinkers as it is
scientific approach and predictable nature of political events.

Despite of merits, the Behavioural approach has been criticised for its fascination for
scienticism also. The main criticisms levelled against this approach are mentioned below:

1. This has been disparaged for its dependence on practices and methods ignoring the
subject matter.
2. The supporters of this approach were wrong when they said that human beings behave
in similar ways in similar circumstances.
3. This approach focus on human behaviour but it is a difficult task to study human
behaviour and to get a definite result.
4. Most of the political phenomena are indeterminate. Therefore it is always difficult to
use scientific methods in the study of Political Science.
5. Furthermore, the scholar being a human being is not always value neutral as believed by
the behaviouralists.

Post behaviour approach:


In the mid of 1960s, behaviourism gained a dominant position in the methodology of political
science. Relevance and action were the main slogans of post behaviourism. In modern social
science, behaviourism approach has shown increasing concern with problem solving of the
prevailing problems of society. In this way, it is largely absorbed the post behavioural
orientation within its scope

The growth of behavioural movement in Political Science is one of the important landmarks in
the history of Political Science. The rise of behaviouralism clearly introduced a scientific vigour
in the study of political phenomena. However, after sometime, it began to be realized that
unlike natural sciences, generalizations could not be made in the field of social sciences, as the
study of man in the societal context was a far more complex pursuit than the study of objects in
the natural sciences. Therefore, a new thinking emerged among the behaviouralists for
modifying behaviouralism.

David Easton who was a staunch supporter of behaviouralism later became a strong critic of
behaviouralism. In his presidential address to the Annual Convention of the American Political

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Science Association held in 1969, David Easton declared that he felt dissatisfied with the
political research and teaching made under the impact of behaviouralism. He further said that
because of too much use of mathematics, Political Science looked more of mathematics than of
social science and that it had lost touch with the current and contemporary world.
Behaviouralism also dissatisfied people as it failed to offer solutions to many social and political
problems. Such dissatisfaction has led to the emergence of post- behaviouralism. This new
approach believed that mere use of sophisticated techniques and research tools would not
solve the social and political problems of the world. Therefore post behaviouralists opposed the
idea of behaviouralists to make Political Science a value-free science like other natural sciences.
Therefore, post-behaviouralists made an effort to make Political Science relevant to the society.
However, it must be remembered that post-behaviouralism cannot be separated from
behviouralism as it has emerged out of behaviouralism. Through using different techniques and
methods post-behaviouralists try to overcome the drawbacks of behaviouralism and make the
study of Political Science more relevant to the society.

Post-behaviouralism believed that the use of scientific tools is beneficial if it can solve the
various problems of the society. Behaviouralists gave too much emphasis on methods and
techniques and believed that it was better to be wrong than vague. Post-behaviouralists on the
other hand, believe that it is better to be vague than non-relevantly precise. The post-
behaviouralists criticized behaviouralism on the ground that the latter had lost touch with the
realities of the society because of over emphasis on techniques. Thus, post-behaviouralists may
be regarded as the reform movement within behaviouralism. This new approach emphasizes
identifying and solving the major issues of political and social life. According to post-
behavioralism, the political scientists should find out different alternatives and means to solve
the social problems. Thus, the main thrust of post-behaviouralism has been to make Political
Science relevant to the society. However, it must be remembered that it is only a continuation
of behaviouralism. It does not altogether reject the ideas of behaviouralism. It acknowledges
the achievement of behavioralism and appreciates its effort to do objective research in Political
Science. It only tries to bring research in Political Science closer to reality to make the subject
more relevant to the society.Accordingly, the post-behaviouralists opposed the efforts of the
behaviouralists to make Political Science a value-free science.It was argued by the post-
behaviouralisrs that Political Science in oreder to be relevant to the society must consider basic
issues of society such as justice, liberty, equality, democracy, etc., The post-behaviouralists
have described behaviouralism as a ‘mad craze for scienticism’. Thus, the post-behavioralism is
a reformation of behavioralism as it shifts its focus strictly from empirical research to resolving
problems confronting the society.

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Key tenets of Post Behaviourlism

 Post-behavioralism challenged the idea that academic research had to be value neutral[2] and
argued that values should not be neglected.
 Post-behavioralism claimed that behavioralism's bias towards observable and measurable
phenomena meant that too much emphasis was being placed on easily studied trivial issues at
the expense of more important topics.
 Research should be more relevant to society and intellectuals have a positive role to play in
society

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Behavioural Analysis

The behavioural approach to social and political analysis concentrates on a single, deceptive
simple question: why do people behave in the way they do? What differentiate from
behaviouralist from other social scientist is their insistence that (a) observable behavior,
whether it is at the level of the individual or the social aggregate, should be focus of analysis,
and (b) any explanation of that behavior should be susceptible to empirical categories of
analysis. Behavioural takes the view that whatever theoretical categories any analysis uses,
social enquiry is fundamental about trying to understand what it is that people do, think or say.

Behaviouralist have extensively analysed the reasons that underlie the main form of mass
political participation in the democratic countries: voting, forms of political activity such
demonstrations, strikes and event riots. At the elite level, behaviourlists have analyst leadership
behavior, placing particular emphasis on the connections between the way in which leaders
view the world. In terms of social aggregates, behavrioural analysis has examined the actions of
the interest groups and political parties. At the international level, bahavioural analysis has also
focused on the actions of the states as well as on the behavior of non-state actors such as
multinational corporations, international terrorist groups and supranational organization like
the EU. So in all these context, the central questions that behaviourlist seek to answer are
simple. What do the actors involved actually do> How can we best explain why they do it?
These obviously not only question that can be asked about individual and social justice.

The rise of the behavioural movement and its core characteristics:

The behavioural movements assumed an important position in the social sciences in the 1950s
and 1960s. Its philosophical origins were in the writings of Auguste Comte in 19 th century and in
the logical positivism of the Vienna Circle in the 1920s.

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